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Too often, when we see stories about girls or women who are strong and powerful in their own right, it’s about “wow, she’s a woman and she’s strong and powerful.” But Katniss’s womanhood in no way effects her story, which is incredibly impressive as much of the plot is influenced by her love life.

I’m not saying that love stories have to play up a woman’s femininity or make a point of the fact that she’s not overly feminine, but almost all of them do. To be perfectly honest, I think – plot wise, not regarding how people perceive the novels – it would not make too much of a difference to the overall plot if Katniss/ Peeta and Gale was/were a boy/girls (This would be assuming that sexual orientation doesn’t matter in Panem).

Sure, we’d lose all the wedding dress stuff, but that doesn’t mean the plot would change. Hell, fashion’s so important, even if Katniss was male, there’d still probably be a fuss over what he’d wear to the wedding. Likewise, it wouldn’t change her status as a sex-symbol, getting dolled up so that people will like her. Look at Finnick, his masculinity did change how the Capitol played up his sexuality.

We see people doubt Katniss all the time, which is unsurprising. But her sex is never the cause of people’s doubts. They doubt her because she’s a poor, starving child from the Seam – but that would still be true if she were a boy. They doubt her because she’s a radical and because they disagree with her. But no one ever doubt her because she’s a woman.

In a lot of literature and film today, what we perceive a a feminist work really isn’t that feminist. Pro-woman, yes. But feminist? Often not. Most of what we think of as feminist movies or books is about a woman or girl who struggles obviously against the patriarchy because she’s female. All this really does is say “Hey, look! It’s a woman struggling against a patriarchal society. Life’s hard for her because she’s a woman and therefore is oppressed.”

What makes The Hunger Games truly a feminist novel is that it features a strong, female protagonist who’s sex has absolutely nothing to do with the story. In fact, if you went through and changed the pronouns to their masculine counterparts, the majority of the story would probably still make sense. It’s truly feminist because it’s not about a woman – it’s about a person undefined by their sex without ever acknowledging it.

  • Sulla

    What is this God-awful waffle all about?????? Here’s my response to all the women and media types lining up to call Katniss “a feminist”Katniss is NOT a feminist, and here’s why:Katniss is, at the end of the day, one of 24 children sent to die.Her true heroism lies in the fact that from age 11 she acted with immense level-headedness and courage in saving her own family from starvation – and then went on supporting them. However, this act was down to her, not her gender or identification with such.Katniss is NOT a feminist because she does not:
    1 Regard herself as having an impoverished life because she couldn’t have the latest pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes.
    2 Shag her way around enough wealthy men who would give her the wealthy lifestyle she wanted
    3 Doesn’t get by life on her looks or expect a red carpet rolled out for her the whole of her life.
    4 Doesn’t state into the agendas of “women as victim”, women “looking out for each other in the face of male oppression”, or general man-hating. Quite the reverse, she acts to protect others, male or female.
    5 Live in the Upper East side of New York, guzzling wine by the bottle with other, malignant, wealthy, senlf-indulgent female types who care for nothing save their own wealth.(Some things ironincally, the wealthy, emotionally and morally bankrupt women of the Capitol, DO subscribe to)In other words, Katniss is the absolute antithesis of feminism because she doesn’t live a shallow, self-obsessed life, playing off her looks or a fake sense of victimhood and expecting a red carpet throughout life. She is a genuinely, self-sacrificing hero who has the admiration ofShe IS a hero – but not a feminist one. Quite the reverse – she is one of the few famous (if fictional) women in today’s world absolutely worth admiring. 

    • Lilamedusa

      You keep using this word “feminist”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Mark

    “What makes The Hunger Games truly a feminist novel is that it features a strong, female protagonist who’s sex has absolutely nothing to do with the story.”

    Umm, no. This is a novel for everyone.

    The fact that it features a woman as a strong female protaganist where her gender is unimportant is precisely what makes it NOT a feminist novel.  It makes it a novel for everyone.

    As a man, I would never describe myself as a feminist – but I admire the protaganist (and the others) enormously for their courage and self-sacrifice.

    Unlike feminist novels, there is no glorification of her doing what she does because she’s a woman or inspite of men. It’s not about her being denied advancement in business, or not having the lastest accessory, or her hungering after a wealthy, good looking bloke. (If you want vacuous twaddle like that – read Louise Mensch, ooops Bagshaw or Allison Pearson. THOSE are feminist novels). 

    And that’s the difference.

    • Lilamedusa

      And that’s why it’s feminist. Because her being a woman does not change anything. She’s a true equal, not inferior, not superior.
      You keep using this word “feminist”. I do not think it means what you think it means.